Who’s Afraid of Intelligent Design? Not the Courageous Mr. Mathews

Robert L. Crowther, II

Washington Post education reporter Jay Mathews is a courageous man to be sure to write an article (“Who’s Afraid of Intelligent Design?”) that goes against the crusade of his employer.
Specifically, Mathews argues that it would be good for science education to teach the scientific criticisms of Darwinian evolution. This is exactly the approach that CSC has always advocated.

But after interviewing supporters and opponents of intelligent design, which argues among other things that today’s organisms are too complex to have evolved from primordial chemicals by chance or necessity, I think critiques of modern biology, like Ladendorff’s contrarian lessons, could be one of the best things to happen to high school science

But, Mathews goes even further and suggests that it would also be a good idea to include intelligent design theory in biology classes.

Why not enliven this with a student debate on contrasting theories? Why not have an intelligent design advocate stop by to be interrogated? Many students, like me, find it hard to understand evolutionary theory, and the scientific method itself, until they are illuminated by contrasting points of view.

While there are some things here that we could quibble over (and who are we kidding, just quibbling is a big step in the right direction with an institution like the Post) such as his definition of intelligent design, in the end he basically endorses teaching the controversy and suggests that Darwinism not be held up as unassailable dogma.
He lets CSC Fellow John Angus Campbell have the last word:

“John Angus Campbell, who teaches the rhetoric of science and speech at the University of Memphis, has been trying to coax more of them into letting their students consider Darwin’s critics. Like me, Campbell reveres the 19th-century philosopher John Stuart Mill, who said good ideas should be questioned lest they degenerate into dogma.
Turning Darwin into an unassailable god without blemishes, Campbell said, doesn’t give student brains enough exercise. “If you don’t see the risks, if you don’t see the gaps,” he said, “you don’t see the genius of Darwin.”

I hope that Mr. Mathews is prepared for the onslaught of nasty hate mail he will get for having the temerity to suggest such a radical idea.

Robert Crowther, II

Robert Crowther holds a BA in Journalism with an emphasis in public affairs and 20 years experience as a journalist, publisher, and brand marketing and media relations specialist. From 1994-2000 he was the Director of Public and Media Relations for Discovery Institute overseeing most aspects of communications for each of the Institute's major programs. In addition to handling public and media relations he managed the Institute's first three books to press, Justice Matters by Roberta Katz, Speaking of George Gilder edited by Frank Gregorsky, and The End of Money by Richard Rahn.